Saturday Practice: Thoughts and observations

Miguel Melendez here invading Jon Gold’s blog (username and all). I’ll be filling in for the next few practices bringing you some notes with videos along with complete stories in the paper. If you must know, I’ll be at UCLA on Tuesday and Saturday next week as well. I will say this: next time I plan on parking in residential neighborhood so I can write from campus instead of driving the 50 minutes back home to Pasadena.

QUICK HITS

* Perhaps the biggest news in Saturday’s practice were injuries to linebackers Patrick Larimore (neck) and Aaron Wallace (neck). Larimore walked off the field early and was visibly upset, punching a tackling bag on his way out. There was no immediate update on the injury, though UCLA coach Jim Mora thinks it could be either a concussion or concussion-like symptoms for both Larimore and Wallace. In other news, Brandon Sermons, dressed in street clothes, might sit out the rest of spring camp with a broken bone in his hand that’ll require surgery. But not so fast … “There’s chance he can be back late next week with one of those big (casts) on,” Mora said. “He practiced with it on Tuesday but they felt the best thing to do — because he had some swelling on his hand underneath the cast — they need to cut the cast, and when they cut the cast he wasn’t protected, so we can’t have him out here in that situation.” It’s basically a wait-and-see approach for now.

** Mora said he wasn’t really looking at numbers during the Bruins’ first full scrimmage of spring camp. He said he was looking more at body language and tempo from players. When asked what he thought of the first two drives that resulted in quick touchdown passes from Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut, Mora needed his memory refreshed. So, yes, he was looking for a sense of urgency and reaction from players in situations.

*** The defense recorded three interceptions: Larimore, Eric Kendricks and Ryan Hofmeister. Bad routes? Bad angles? Poor throw? Good step-in from defenders? Mora couldn’t say, adding that he would need to review tape before giving his input. From my view, Hundley’s throw intercepted by Larimore was Larimore being Larimore: good instincts with a nose for the football; Kevin Prince during overtime drills left the ball hanging int he air; and Richard Brehaut came under pressure.

**** No clear front-runner at the quarterback position, but with six practices remaining Mora said the pressure will be more intense as quarterbacks are asked to do more in situation scrimmages. Brett Hundley picked up some rhythm as the scrimmage progressed, connecting with Shaquelle Evans for a touchdown after tripping for a loss. Jerry Neuheisel looked sharp at times connecting several times with Johnathan Franklin and Malcom Jones. Tyler Scott made a nice grab on a high throw for a completion. …. Sheldon Price blocked a field goal attempt during drills.

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  • glawson07

    4/21/2012 Practice Report
    General thoughts – business-like approach; efficient
    I want to preface this by saying that I naturally spent more effort on watching the offense vs. defense performance. Although, both sides had their share of good play.
    QB’s – If the season started tomorrow and based solely off of today, clearly Brehaut is the #1. He showed good control of the offense, quick and precise reads/throws. Good zip on the ball in both scrimmage and passing drills. Good decisions other than the scrimmage-ending pick he threw. Hundley struggled early in the scimmage, but looked better in the passing drills. He did rebound and have a couple of nice throws in scrimmage, but he is the #2 guy at this point. He has the physical tools, but really just needs more reps. By Fall it could be closer as Hundley could easily close the gap, but for now its Brehaut. Prince had a nice long throw early in scrimmage for a TD and looked okay in passing drills, but he struggled with consistency and accuracy with his throws in the scrimmage. Clear #3 at this point. Neu had a nice throw or two, but just doesn’t have the arm strength. All in all, all the QB’s threw TDs and each threw an INT (Not sure if Neu threw any), but it is clear from today that the reps should be funneled down to Brehaut and Hundley.
    1.Brehaut,2. Hundley, 3. Prince
    WR – Shaq will be awesome this year. Guy caught everything and made some nice moves after the catch and in traffic. Shaq is clear #1 target with Lucien and Johnson following in that order after that. #81 looked okay and I believe he was a walk-on. No real drops. Missed catches by the top 3 guys would have been more from better defense. No brain farts. Encouraging.
    1.Shaq, 2. Lucien, 3. Johnson
    TE – didn’t watch much since the big fella was doing work with Sal the entire time due to injury status (on a related note, I did see Riley running with the injury group…man, the guy just looks like a player…wish he was on the field…and who ever #95 was with them, he’s a big boy)
    1. All about Fauria
    RB – One word – Franklin. This guy is going to get many touches carrying the rock and catching it out of the backfield…He just looked very fluid and fast out there. I get the feeling that the #2 back won’t be determined for some time…likely not until late Fall or after a few games. Malcolm didn’t do anything in particular and he is going to need to step it up to surpass some of the other guys vying for time – Hilliard, Manfro and James. All three of those guys got some action and look good in space. One thing is for sure, James was getting a lot of action today catching and carrying. Didn’t watch RB blocking too much..so I can’t comment on that.
    1. Franklin 2. TBD
    OL – Didn’t notice any bad snaps, generally good protection, XSF did pretty well…they provided some good protection at times, other times not so much. Some good holes opened up for the tailbacks..That group looked okay.
    Special Teams – will be much improved…thanks goodness. James and Manfro did a good job catching the ball and getting up the field. This will be a huge improvement over last year.

  • tomas

    Miguel-

    Good report. You do a great job with the Star-News. Glad to see you get some space here.

  • anonymous

    Miguel,
    Thanks for the report. Sorry to hear about Larimore and Wallace. Hope they are ok. Been to several practices and Larimore has looked great.

  • Anonymous

    Good report. Larimore has had a really good spring. Hope he’s not out too long.

  • Playedatthenextlevel

    Miguel,
    Thanks for the great update. Not good news about Larimore and Wallace. Hope they are healthy soon and back on the field. Have been to all the practices and Larimore has been awesome. That kid is on fire. He does a great job leading the defense and making plays. Looking forward to a standout season from Larimore.
    Looks like Brehaut might be our starting QB. He was the most consistent today.
    Keep the news coming.

  • localbruin

    Chaos? Playing crowd noise and music creates chaos? Jimmy, jimmy, jimmy. No no no. You’re so new to Bruin football. So naive. Chaos is having an OL that misses assignments, you’re starting RB who routinely fumbles the ball away, QBs who lock onto receivers and become pick machines, a 3 -4 that plays like a 1 – 8, CBs that have more PIs than tackles.

    Jimbo, my brother. You will learn what chaos really is come gametime in the fall. You’re the Bruin football coach now and you have no idea what you’re in for. Good luck.

  • Anonymous

    geez localbruin, keep putting the good word out for uh … bruin fans? kinda lost me there with all your pollyanna rose colored glasses stuff. great report miguel, on many counts. Let’s see – if I’m JM, I would be happy if no qb stood out at the end of spring – wouldn’t that cause each one of the QBs to try harder to earn the job in the time between now and september? Not like you need someone to be gaining benefits of a starting job before fall, imho.

  • Coach Thom

    glawson07. Great report. Good writing. If Brehaut is to be the starting QB and Jet-ski the starting RB, so be it. Glad to hear they’re stepping up.

  • BruinFaithful

    TOTALLY wrong on that Hundley Int,

    I was right there on the line of scrimmage, on the left sideline when he threw the pick. He totally telegraphed the pick and threw it right to Lari. There was absolutely no separation. Horrible decision.

    Honestly, the best looking QB out there was Neuheisel. I couldn’t believe it myself. He threw the nicest ball. Made like 3-4 completions. He made crisp passes in between tight windows. He only missed a fade in the left corner of the end zone. I couldn’t see the finish, because a lot of players were blocking my view. But, it looked like the receiver dropped the ball.

    Jetski and Manfro looked incredible. Jetski looked much bigger and leaner with his shirt off. Manfro looked bigger as well. Manfro honestly looks like he grew about 2 inches since HS, although I doubt he is 5-11. Manfro also looked incredible on kick off and punt returns. He took one to the house and ripped a few other very good runs. He looks like our return guy. Didn’t muff a single kick either.

  • Uncle Rico

    After reading your jargon-filled and not at all hackneyed analysis, Bruin Faithful, it seems the REAL question is…can you throw a football over them mountains?

    CAN YOU?!?!?!

  • 50-0

    Uncle Rico. Still selling Tupperware out of your van?